Pre-Material Girl time, when Madge was 19, she needed money for a pay phone (yes, kids, iPhones haven’t been around forever). A friendly guy offered her his landline but when she went upstairs, he raped her. ”The first year I lived in New York was crazy,” she told the radio host. “Hi, I’m from Michigan. I trusted everybody.” After being attacked, she declined to report it to authorities or press charges. “You’ve already been violated,” she explained. “It’s just not worth it. It’s too much humiliation.”
Declining to involve police or speak about the situation so publicly isn’t a behavior relegated to an international superstar. In fact, it’s actually a common reaction that many survivors have and according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. But the fact that Madonna is talking about it now is important. “It’s amazing that Madonna is speaking out and sharing her story,” Katherine Hull Fliflet, a spokesperson for RAINN tells Yahoo Style. “Hearing from somebody that has survived this experience and has gone on to become such a pop cultural icon is incredibly encouraging for other survivors out there that might feel like they’re alone.”
And while Madonna’s message is important, Hull Fliflet adds to her statement that it’s important to note a lot has changed since the late ‘70s. There’s improved training for law enforcement and expanded resources for victims but the tragedy is still the same. Hull Fliflet notes that all victims should remember that rape doesn’t define a person, it’s never the fault of the victim, and that there are people out there that can help. The National Sexual Assault hotline number is 800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org provides visitors with a staff member for a one-on-one chat.
This isn’t the first time the Queen of Pop has opened up about her assault. In 2013, she spoke for the first time about it in the media in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. No matter the medium or the amount of time has passed, Hull Fliflet says, “Madonna speaking out so publicly is showing that recovery is possible.”
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